Sunday, February 8, 2009

So maybe it's not that bad

Tease me if you want but I sometimes love facebook. I like reconnecting with old friends and seeing how our lives have turned out. Sometimes I laugh because they are exactly as I thought they would be. But yesterday, I found two friends on facebook and it stirred a great excitement. Both were friends from youth group at the beige church. I got frustrated at times with them because they seemed like the perfect family. Both went to Christian schools, were always talking about good quiet times or retreats, and listened to Christian music; people loved them. In my normal cynical fashion, I assumed they would go on to be pastors, wear polo shirts and never really encounter the real world. I am a judgmental jerk at times. And often, I am realizing, I am completely wrong.

I was right that they would go on to be pastors. But not the way I assumed. One is leading a community of "skeptics and dreamers" in Pennsylvania. The other is a youth pastor in Colorado. From what I have heard from them and read of their work, they are doing amazing things. I found myself getting excited about how God is at work in our lives and communities. But mostly about how God through His Gospel transforms peoples lives.

They say you should never assume because it makes an ass out of you and me. I assume anyway. In this case, I figured I was the only person who had grown up in Sunday School and seen the error in some of its teachings. I wanted everyone who went to Sunday School with me to have turned out to be robots who blindly believed everything. It gave me a feeling of superiority- I was the smart one, the only one who could reconcile the problems in the institution with the truth that I hold so dear. I am ready to admit I was wrong.

Sure, there are probably some who never get out of the mindset that whatever they learned at church must be true. But, what I realized this morning is simple: God is bigger than Sunday School. These guys I reconnected with know the Gospel and speak of redemption. God reached past our limited knowledge of grace and showed all three of us its power. No one is beyond it- no matter how perfect his/her life may seem. These guys are living real lives. I arrogantly thought that anyone who was the model youth group attender could not possibly live with such authenticity. I am happy to be incorrect.

I am not the only one to believe this story and I am excited, for the first time, to meet others who share this experience. All is not lost. And maybe, my cynicism is cracking...


Hawley said...

Hi! I stumbled upon your blog via Mockingbird :) I liked the title of your blog (Sunday School Survivor) and have been wrestling with issues of Sunday School for some time now.

You may find that odd, but, well... The truth is that I am now a Youth Minister and I teach "Sunday School". The odd part about it all is that I stopped going to Sunday School when I was in about 7th grade, because I felt like it was pointless.

I had become a Christian when I was in 6th grade and felt a superficiality to Sunday School. I didn't see the point in going to silly activities and I remember thinking that the lessons were weird and not really relevant.

So it leaves me in a hard spot, looking out on the faces of kids who are determined to find anything I do or have to share with them as "lame". Even as I try to share the Gospel of Grace. And yet, there are a few... in whom I see so much growth, in both faith and self, and it's inspiring. It keeps me there.

I want God to be in charge of it but I know there is abundant cynicism in my group, much as you say you felt in yours.

I'll be interested to try reading more of your blog and learning along with you. It's quite a conundrum I think sometimes, to try and share the gospel with an audience who hasn't necessarily chosen to be there...

Thanks. I appreciated your comments :) Believe it or not, I found it very encouraging.

jane said...

Hi Hawley! I'm glad it was encouraging in some way. And I hope you know how excited I am that someone like you is leading youth group. It gives me great hope for the future that people like you are teaching them about the Gospel of Grace. Thanks for reading and I can't wait to read your blog too!